It was all square in the Inzaghi brothers derby, as stunning Ciro Immobile and Pasquale Schiattarella volleys saw Benevento and Lazio share the spoils.
The two brothers faced off only once before as coaches, Lazio winning 2-0 away to Bologna on December 26, 2018.
Luis Alberto returned, but Francesco Acerbi, Lucas Leiva, Mohamed Fares, Senad Lulic, Vedat Muriqi and suspended Jean-Daniel Akpa Akpro missed out. Benevento were without Christian Maggio, Luca Caldirola, Massimo Volta and Gabriele Moncini.
Lazio had a very aggressive start and pinned Benevento back into their own half for the opening five minutes, but then almost capitulated on the first counter. On the corner, Pepe Reina made a stunning save from point-blank range on Gianluca Lapadula’s header, then stuck out a foot to deny Kamil Glik’s follow-up.
Inspired Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Luis Alberto through balls didn’t quite get the finish they deserved, then Luis Alberto drilled one from the edge of the area to thump the base of the upright.
The deadlock was broken in absolutely spectacular style. Milinkovic-Savic whipped in a cross from the right, Immobile managed to hook his leg around the defender and without looking at the goal volley it over the ‘keeper into the far top corner from 12 yards.
Lapadula failed to make the most of a promising counter and Immobile’s glancing header flashed wide, then Glik made a decisive tackle on Luis Alberto in the penalty area.
Reina was tested again, getting down to fingertip the Gianluca Caprari low drive around the base of the near post. On the resulting corner, Benevento got their equaliser, as Pasquale Schiattarella flicked it up, the header knocked it on and it came back to Schiattarella for a ferocious left-foot volley in off the inside of the far post.
Le Streghe started the second half with more confidence and it was a far more even affair, with Adam Marusic’s cross only grazing the head of Milinkovic-Savic.
There were timid penalty appeals from Lazio, but Joaquin Correa kicked the ball at Gaetano Letizia’s trailing hand from point-blank range, so that could not be considered intentional.
Milinkovic-Savic timed his run perfectly to spring the offside trap on an Andreas Pereira ball over the top, but couldn’t keep his header on target from a tricky angle. Pereira then went for it himself moments later, his strike dipping inches over the crossbar.
Lazio poured forward in the closing stages, leaving gaps at the back that Benevento very nearly made the most of. Reina made a desperate reaction save on Di Serio set up by Iago Falque, then it bounced off Riccardo Improta to go over the bar. Moments later, Reina’s gloves were stung by Improta’s strike on the counter.
Schiattarella had been man of the match until stoppages, when he lunged into Correa’s ankles at the by-line and was shown a straight red card.
Lazio were also furious with the last kick of the game, as Lorenzo Montipò fumbled a free kick and the referee stopped play for a foul. There was no foul on the goalkeeper, but the referee explained he had seen an earlier push instead.
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Sent off: Schiattarella 92 (B)